The DEQAR databases was conceived and has succeeded in enabling a broad range of users to satisfy their information needs and to support different types of decisions (e.g. recognition of degrees, mobility of students, portability of grants/loans). These users include but are not limited to:
- Recognition information centres (ENIC-NARICs)
- Recognition and admission officers in higher education institutions
- Students and student organisation representatives
- Quality assurance agencies
- Ministry representatives and other national authorities
DEQAR CONNECT built on two Commission funded projects (apart from the first DEQAR project):
- ETER: An important contributor to the database is ETER (the European Tertiary Education Register) and the related OrgReg (a Register of Public-Sector Organizations). DEQAR harvests records from ETER/OrgReg on an annual basis. These records serve as base set of records on European higher education institutions in DEQAR. The following ETER data on institutions are stored in the database: ETER ID, official name, English name, acronym, country, city (when available), latitude/longitude (when available), QF-EHEA levels and institution website.
- Qrossroads: DEQAR was conceived in the context of the EHEA goal of automatic recognition. Amongst others, it was inspired by Qrossroads, a frontrunner in publishing quality assurance reports developed by the European Consortium for Accreditation (ECA).
How it started
EQAR’s Strategic Plan 2013-2017, approved by the GA of 2013, included the provision to “explore the feasibility of a database of evaluated and accredited institutions and programmes, linking with existing initiatives where possible”. This feasibility study on the Database, including surveys of potential users and registered agencies, as well as desk research of existing database initiatives was done in 2016.
The resulting Report and Operational Model were then presented to EQAR members (European governments and stakeholder organisations) at the 2016 Members’ Dialogue. Most members had received positive feedback from their national stakeholders and considered that the database would enhance accessibility of external quality assurance results.
In March 2017, EQAR applied for Erasmus+ co-funding (Support to policy reform, Forward-looking cooperation projects) to develop this database. The DEQAR (Database of External Quality Assurance Results) project, with a 2-year duration, was approved later that year and started in November 2017.
In May 2018, the database was officially launched coinciding with the Ministerial Conference in Paris. It contained 1 488 reports, uploaded by six quality assurance agencies.
At the end of 2019, the DEQAR database contained > 40 000 reports uploaded by 31 agencies and had received a fair share of attention in the form of newsletter items, interviews, testimonials and even television coverage.
The DEQAR CONNECT projects aims to not only further populate the database by supporting the participation of QAAs that could not join DEQAR in the first stage but to also try to make use of the DEQAR data directly in the recognition workflow, digital credentialing and elswhere.